Monday, March 3, 2008

Preparing A Place

Tell me if this rings a bell:

Somewhere in outer space
God has prepared a place
For those who trust Him and obey
Jesus will come again
And tho' we don't know when
The countdown's getting lower every day

Ten and nine
Eight and seven
Six and five and four
Call upon the Savior while you may
Three and two
Coming through
The clouds in bright array
The countdown's getting lower every day

If you remember that, then you probably remember the sound of a couple dozen little kids yell-chanting in unison like brainwashed bodysnatcher victims:

And if I go.
And prepare a place for you.
I will come again.
And receive you unto Myself.
That where I am.
There. ye. may. be. ALSO!
John 14:3!

Alright. Got that firmly in mind?

Then you don't wonder why I have trouble taking that verse seriously. It's no surprise that when I came to that verse this morning, I glossed right over it and kept right on going.

But God stopped me. He brought me back to the verse and made me read it again. And the verse preceding.

"In my Father's house are many rooms...I am going there to prepare a place for you."

I paused. What does that look like? Exactly how is Jesus preparing a place for me?

Well, last month my mom came for a visit.

Before she came, I completely organized all the toys and cleaned every square inch of the house. (She was our first overnight guest in our new home and I wanted everything to be just right for this important show and tell).

I changed the sheets on our bed and set up a sleeping place for my husband and myself elsewhere so she could have some privacy (and so the boys could make noise in the morning without disturbing her rest).

I cleaned the toilet. I cleaned the tub. I set out a matching towel, hand towel and washcloth for her.

I picked out some bath salts whose flavor I knew she liked (I think), and I scrounged around for a gift bag to put them into. I searched specifically for an old gift bag I'd saved. One she'd filled with my favorite pickles and given me in high school as a peace offering after our one really bad mother-daughter quarrel. I remembered it wasn't in my gift wrapping stuff. It was in my keepsake box.

I scrambled up the attic ladder with Jeff's headlamp flashlight thing plastering my hair to my face and stumbled around in the dark until I found the keepsake box, from which I extracted the gift bag. I dressed it up with tissue paper, put the bath stuff in, and set it out for her.

The boys jumped around the house proclaiming, "When Gramma Nanna gets here, she's going to play this game with me! When Gramma Nanna gets here, she's going to read this book to me! When Gramma Nanna gets here, I'm going to show her my Zoo Tycoon 2 zoo that I just made. When Gramma Nanna gets here..."

While the boys and I were picking her up from the airport, Jeff waxed the dining room floor, lit scented candles, and put on a CD of the kind of music my mom grew up on. He made coffee, and he finished all the straightening I hadn't been able to get to.

We did all this in preparation for a three-day visit with my sweet mommy.

I know Jesus is not up in heaven mopping floors and cleaning toilets in preparation for my arrival. (Because heaven is clean already!) But the love, anticipation and excitement that we felt while preparing for my mom is nothing compared to the overwhelming, all-encompassing anticipation my Abba feels about the day I step foot in the new home in heaven He is preparing for me.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am." -John 14:1-3

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14